The Rev. Dr. Andrew Linzey has written extensively on the issue of animals and Christianity in nearly 200 articles and in books such as Animal Rites. In the introduction to this top-drawer collection of essays on animal theology, he recalls the exasperation of a classmate who said to him: "I don't know why you're spending all your time on this. They're only animals — for heaven's sake!" On these pages Linzey makes it clear that our exploitation of animals is so widespread and voracious that none of us can escape culpability given the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the products we use in our homes. This fact means that it is hard for animal rights activists to become self-righteous about this worthy cause.
Linzey is pleased that more theologians are writing about animals and their rights but is still dismayed by the abuse animals suffer from Christians who treat them shamefully in the name of sport, profit, and personal selfishness. The author calls churches and denominations to "meet the challenge of what is a growing worldwide movement of ethical sensitivity to animals." It is time for believers to set aside their ideas concerning the godlike supremacy over other creatures and to treat them with "an authentically Jesus-shaped ethic of generosity that extends to the 'least of all' in our day, including all suffering creatures."
After providing a critique of some ecotheogians and sharing his ideas with a gathering of Baptists, Linzey presents some apocryphal accounts about Jesus and animals that ask us to see his ministry to include all creatures that fly, walk, crawl, and swim. He next goes on to comment on reactions to his earlier book, Animal Rites, about being an animal liturgist. Linzey finds it peculiar and disappointing that animals are invisible in Christian worship. This is insane given the reality that all of these species and creatures are part of God's creative and amazing creation. In the last chapter, "Summing Up: Towards a Prophetic Church for Animals," Linzey presents his four-point call for ways to rectify the blindness of many believers in regard to animal rights. Best of all would be a revival of Albert Schweitzer's reverence for all creatures.